It was a bad day of practice for the wide receivers on Tuesday for the Chicago Bears. So bad that receiver coach Mike Furrey was said to have called it the “worst” they’d ever had. That isn’t a great look. A lot of dropped passes and misalignments before the snap. Given how underwhelming the position group was in the preseason opener against Miami? One had to think the team might consider a shakeup of some kind at the position.
Sure enough, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune revealed the team brought in Isaiah Coulter for a tryout on Wednesday. Coulter was a surprise cut by the Houston Texans this week. He was a 5th round pick for the team in 2020. However, the arrival of a new GM and new coaching staff likely didn’t do him any favors. Now he’s searching for a new opportunity elsewhere.
#Bears brought in WR Isaiah Coulter for a tryout.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) August 18, 2021
So what exactly are the Bears getting?
Coulter comes out of the University of Rhode Island. He had a standout junior season with 72 catches for 1,039 yards and eight touchdowns. This was soon coupled with a strong showing at the scouting combine where he ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash at 6’2, 198 lbs. Draft experts saw him as a player in need of polish but with tons of physical upside. Here is what Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had to say about him.
“Raw but talented X receiver with NFL-caliber length, speed and athletic ability. He runs a limited route tree and doesn’t show enough attention to detail in his route work, but he’s loose and fluid with the ability to get that area corrected. He lets coverage off the hook when he doesn’t burst and separate like he’s capable of, but he has access to plenty of juice when needed.”
Unfortunately for Coulter, he was trapped on a depth chart overrun with established veterans like Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, and Keke Coutee. So he was never able to see the field. The new coaching staff has their minds set on overturning the roster and so he was out. Perhaps a fresh start in Chicago could help him start tapping into that considerable potential.
Chicago Bears are right to keep up their search
The truth is they really don’t have any definitive options at wide receiver outside of Allen Robinson. Darnell Mooney figures to take a big step forward but he’s still unproven. After that, it’s a bunch of cheap veterans and untried rookies. Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd have had solid one-year runs in San Francisco and New England respectively. Beyond that? Not much. Dazz Newsome is the team’s 6th round pick and is recovering from a broken collarbone.
After that, it becomes a jumble of underwhelming guys like Javon Wims, Riley Ridley, Rodney Adams, Chris Lacy, and Jon’Vea Johnson. All have interesting traits but none of them offers anything exciting. Coulter is just 22-years old. He still has plenty of time to explore his ceiling in the NFL. Just because it didn’t work out with the Texans shouldn’t mean anything. That team was a train wreck. This would be a nice gamble by the Chicago Bears.
If nothing else, it sends a clear message.
Nobody at the receiver position outside of Robinson and Mooney should be feeling particularly comfortable right now. This team is hellbent on making sure Justin Fields is a success in the NFL. They are going to churn the roster as much as they have to until they find the necessary blockers and receivers to help the QB thrive. If nobody steps up in the next week? Expect changes.